Urge incontinence is classified by a strong urge to urinate because the bladder begins to have spasms and squeeze, causing you to lose urine.
How the Urinary Tract System Works
For individuals with healthy bladders, the first urge to urinate comes when the bladder has about 1 cup of urine in it, and most individuals can hold their bladder even when it holds about 2 cups of urine. The sphincter is the muscle around the opening of the bladder that squeezes closed to help prevent urine from leaking into the urethra. For the bladder to expand, the bladder wall muscles must relax. Urine is forced out of the bladder as the bladder wall squeezes, and at the same time, the sphincter muscle has to relax to allow the urine to pass through. It is the coordination of all these systems working properly, to urinate. Further systems that need to be functioning properly are your nerves that control your urinary system, and your ability to respond to the feeling of having to urinate.
Cause of Urge Incontinence
Urge incontinence causes your bladder to leak urine because your bladder muscles squeeze and contract at the wrong times and they are not dependent on how much urine is in your bladder.
- Inflammation in the bladder
- Bladder stones
- Infection in bladder
- Bladder cancer
- Nerve injury
- Enlarged prostate
Symptoms of Urge Incontinence
- Needing to urinate very often during the day and night
- Not having control over when you pass urine
- Urgent need to urinate suddenly
Tests & Exams to Check for Urinary Incontinence
- Urinalysis can check for infection
- Urinary stress tests where you stand with a full bladder and cough
- Cystoscopy which views inside the bladder
- Pad test where a pad is worn while exercising and then you check how much urine you lost
- Abdominal or pelvic ultrasound
Treatment for Urge Incontinence
Several different types of treatment involve bladder and pelvic floor muscle training
1. Bladder Retraining
What this looks like is having a set schedule of when you should urinate and the rest of the time, you work on holding your bladder. Eventually, you force yourself to wait for 1 to 1.5 hours between using the restroom. Then, you gradually increase the time between going to the restroom, until you have trained your bladder to wait 3-4 hours between bathroom visits.
2. Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
Kegal exercises are one of the most common methods used to treat stress incontinence, but they may also be used for urge incontinence; this involves squeezing your pelvic muscles like you are trying to stop the flow of urine and then hold this for 10 seconds and repeated ten times.
3. Electrical Stimulation
Electrical stimulation uses a slight electrical current to stimulate your bladder muscles, and the current is delivered through a probe to the anus and vagina area using a probe; this can be performed in an office or at home and the treatments usually last 20 minutes.
Basic changes can be made to help not put as much stress on your bladder. Drinking fewer fluids as meal times helps. Avoiding carbonated drinks, caffeine, spicy foods, and citrus and juices can help too. Taking a bubble bath can sometimes irritate the urethra and the bladder, so it should be avoided.
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